The longest-tenured offensive coordinator in the NFL will take on a new role in 2022. Josh McDaniels, who spent the last 10 seasons calling the New England Patriots’ offense, was officially introduced as the Las Vegas Raiders’ next head coach on Monday.
McDaniels is no stranger to being in this situation, having already coached the Denver Broncos a decade ago. After the Broncos let him go midway through the 2010 season and he returned to New England via St. Louis, he waited for the right opportunity to present itself.
Apparently, he believes Las Vegas is just that.
“I’ve been patient. I’ve been selective, maybe to a fault sometimes,” McDaniels said during his introductory press conference on Monday. “People wanted me to do things a little earlier than maybe I did them. But it was going to take a special place for me to really leave where I was, and I found that here in Las Vegas.”
The Raiders started to express their interest in McDaniels after the Patriots’ playoff exit, and brought him in for an interview over the last weekend. Both sides saw the fit, with a deal getting finalized shortly thereafter.
From McDaniels’ perspective, the organization’s vision and commitment were deciding factors as was its history.
“I was very impressed with how exhaustive they were, just in their evaluation of me and my fit and how I would fit into their vision,” he said. “Then you come out and you spend time with them, you meet the people, you see that everything’s done in a first-class manner. Their commitment to winning is easy to feel, to see, and to me, walking through this building and having a sense of the history and tradition of this organization and how much that impacts the day-to-day here, it really hit me.
“This is one of those iconic places. It’s a historic organization that has unbelievable history and tradition, and it’s in every hallway. Just getting to know them, feeling their commitment and understanding that that really married up with what my vision would be for another opportunity, it was easy to make the choice.”
What likely also helped McDaniels make the decision to leave New England after 10 seasons — 18 total if counting those before the Denver and St. Louis intermezzo — was the man the Raiders picked as their new general manager. Dave Ziegler and McDaniels go back to their days at John Carroll University in the 1990s.
McDaniels, who gave Ziegler his start in the NFL in 2010, did not call the addition of Ziegler a prerequisite on Monday. However, he acknowledged that the process as a whole will be easier to go through given their familiarity.
“I think it’s an important aspect of the team building process,” he said. “It’s not something that has to be a long-term relationship. We’ve seen that work in the NFL where it hasn’t been, but it was important to me to have that person be somebody that I was familiar with — that understands me as a person, as a coach.
“We don’t have to teach one another the language, the scouting system, the things we’re looking forward to in a player, the qualities and traits that we covet. We already understand those. Albeit not necessarily a prerequisite, I think it’s a huge plus for us and for our organization that we have that opportunity to hit the ground running.”
Questions obviously still remain, mostly connected to McDaniels’ previous stint as a head coach. He went 8-8 during his first season with the Broncos and was fired after starting Year 2 with a 3-9 record.
McDaniels’ tenure in Denver was a debacle, but it provided him with an opportunity to learn — one he is eager to capitalize on this time around.
“When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football. I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. And I failed. I didn’t succeed at it,” he said.
“Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person and a coach. What do I need to do differently? How do I need to handle my role if I have another opportunity and do better at it?”
That opportunity has now arrived. Whether or not Las Vegas will turn into that special place McDaniels was looking for still remains to be seen, however.